The ultimate lemon bar

First off, a new discovery: I have a food writer cousin in Palm Beach! She does great stuff, so go check it out. This is not one of those Spanish stretches of the word cousin, either, but an actual relative. We are both descended from same the great-grandmother who made American style biscuits for tea in Bilbao.

Simon Hopkinson says that good cooking is one third talent, one third skill, and one third good taste.
I think that´s probably true for high-end creative chefs. But for the rest of lowly mortals, it´s one third skill and two thirds repetition.
Take these lemon bars. They are without question the most wonderful morsels of tangy-sweet deliciousness known to mankind, but they didn´t start out this way. I tried several versions, all of which were good, but not quite as good as I hoped. Finally, after tweaking and trying and making them several times, I am now convinced that I have the ultimate lemon bar.

The biscuit base is from Belinda Jeffrey´s "Mix and bake". The lemon curd is from Donna Hay´s "Modern Classics 2". Both have been tampered with by yours truly, and adapted for that versatile and trusty old machine, the Thermomix 31*.

The ultimate lemon bar

Preheat the oven to 180º, and make the base

225 gr. flour
180 gr. butter
80 gr. sugar
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt

Put them in that order in the Th, program 15 seconds, speed 6. Turn out and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. It´s so buttery that it can be hard to work, so I just squish it into a 30x23 cm. tin, lined with greaseproof paper, and hope for the best.
Bake until pale golden, about 25'.

Meanwhile, make the custardy lemon filling.
Put 6 eggs,
1 and 1/2 tablespoonfuls of cornstarch
1 cup sugar**
1 cup lemon juice
zest of the lemons used for the juice
200 ml. cream

in the bowl. Program 5 minutes, speed 4, 80ºC.

This makes more than you´ll need for the size of tin. You can either do the complicated sums needed to cut down the recipe to four eggs, or have a bit of a lick-the-bowl fest, and still have some left for a couple of sweet little ramekins.

Let it cool a little, and spread it over the pastry base. Put in the oven for five minutes to set a bit more, then take it out and leave to cool.

To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut into squares. If you make the squares very small, nobody will even consider doing that annoying polite "oh, no I couldn´t" thing. They´ll come back for more and more.

*If you´re making them without machinery the best way to go will be to make the base as you would shortbread, and the filling as you would custard.

**I like my lemon desserts tart and not overly sweet, so just for your information, I will point out that the original filling in Belinda´s book called for two cups of sugar, and Donna for only 3/4 cup lemon juice.

14 comentarios:

Pille dijo...

How cool is that?! I'm 100% sure there are no food writer relatives of mine out there. But then I've got lots of great food writer friends and illustrators :)

Lego y Pulgón dijo...

Perdona mi "espesez" mental, pero no entiendo la jugada de la lata para la masa. Otra cosa: ¿queda algo pegajoso? Porque se me ocurre hacerlo para mis compañeros de trabajo, y dehar una porción en el casillero de cada uno, en plan anónimo..

kickpleat dijo...

i love the idea of an ultimate lemon bar and since i've never made a lemon bar (oh the shame), this is on my list.

Thermomixer dijo...

Certainly looks like cooking is in the blood. Aunts and cousins all with passion and flair.

The lemon slice sounds superb and so easy.

Good to see a couple of Aussie cookbooks being used.

How is Pía? Getting ready for her first Navidad?

lobstersquad dijo...

Pille: I know, so cool! First blogger friends and now relatives, who could ask for more?
Lego: la lata es el molde, mayormente. Para que no se desparrame todo. Yo uso uno de lasagna.
Si dejas esto en el casillero de tus compañeros te sacan a hombros. Es un poquito pegajoso, pero no como el tocino de cielo, sino como lo de dentro de un eclair, por ejemplo. Metelo en papelitos de magdalena.
Kickpleat: no shame, think of all the good times ahead!
Thermomixer: I thought this would be a perfect recipe for you, with the Th and all the Australian literature in the recipe.
Pía oversaw the Christmas decorations yesterday with a red hat on. Very nice.

xps dijo...

Doy fe. son espectaculares.

Xtina en NY dijo...

I am glad you liked Victoria's web. I think the books are really great, but then again, I would be partial to them...
Espero verte en el sur en Navidades.
y con suerte encontraremos mas recetas ...

Preston dijo...

My daughter loves to cook and bake. I had to Google Thermomix 31 to find out about it. How can someone in the United States purchase one?

Anónimo dijo...

Excellent! I've got so many lemons dropping off, crying out to be used, to make a difference in this world.

What would you recommend to replace the Thermomixer? An ordinary food processor?

lobstersquad dijo...

Xtina: loved it. of course!
Claudia: lucky you. I´m hoping to pick some lemons this weekend.
I´d use a processor to make the pastry, but the lemon filling has to be made on the stove, with a pan and a wooden spoon and the stirring on low heat thing. Like custard

lobstersquad dijo...

Preston: It´s a wonderful machine. A bit expensive, but so worth it. The Th31 is the old model, so maybe you can find a second hand one that´s not so expensive.
I don´t know where you can buy them. It´s a bit of a mafia system: they´re not sold in shops, so you need to know someone who owns one to tell you who sold it to them.

Anónimo dijo...

Oh my gawd!!! You have nooooooo idea how much I love this site - and now THIS!!!!!!!

There goes my Sunday afternoon!

Anónimo dijo...

Lemon Bar Cupcakes recipe

1 box lemon cake mix

1/3 cup oil

1 1/3 cup water

3 eggs

1 box shortbread cookies

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 jar lemon curd

Bill Medifast dijo...

Lemon bars have always been a favorite in my house. Love the recipe above my comment and love your post. Thanks for this... haven't had a lemon bar in forever. May have to make some soon.

Bill M.